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November 14, 2011
Filed under: random junk — anthony @ 12:56 pm

Hello and welcome to the oldest, largest and frankly the best root beer reviewing site in the world! over 550 brands reviewed so far! i also throw in birch beer and sarsaparilla reviews occasionally while i am at it since to me, they are the same genre. once in a while i even detour into other branches of the root beer tree, such as spruce beer, dandelion & burdock and the like. a new review publishes every week on Monday with the random post or review of root beer related stuff every once in a while. feel free to submit your own ratings, check out the rankings from me and other visitors, see what sodas are available near you and more. make a float, tap a keg or mix some extract up and enjoy!

anthony (me) started reviewing root beer related drinks in '96 but has always loved the delicious joy of root beer and birch beer and just kept it going ever since. if you have any suggestions of features you'd like to see or sodas you want reviewed, let me know!

 
 

Empire Bottling Works Sarsaparilla

July 7, 2005
Filed under: sarsaparillas — anthony @ 9:45 pm
Type: Sarsaparilla Comes In: 12oz glass bottle
Available: NY, RI, online Obtained in: ordered online
Head: Medium Sweetener: cane sugar
Caffeine: No

it has been much too long that i have had this soda in the fridge. i cannot say it is as unique as the rootbeer was. i mean, it is quite tasty but it in a much more generic-ly good root beer way, not so much in a sarsaparilla way. i find that weird really, that the rootbeer would be the more herbal one while the sarsaparilla is the normal one. oh well. i don't have a lot to tell here, it is good, i like the cane sugar flavor. it does not stand out but i don't mind that so much really.
Anthony's Rating: 87
User's Rating: 91
# of ratings:8

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Free Natural Sasperilla

March 31, 2002
Filed under: sarsaparillas — anthony @ 4:39 pm
Type: Sarsaparilla Comes In: 250 ml glass bottle
Available: UK Obtained in: mail from Sam
Head: Tiny Sweetener: grape juice concentrate
Caffeine: No

just the fact that they spelled "sarsaparilla" totally wrong should have clued me in here. the second clue being how bad the root beer was. i mean, if you can't do root beer right, can you possibly do a decent sarsaparilla? but i thought the best of them and gave it a shot. i think this may take the title of the worst beverage i have ever had. it is a little bad coming in the mouth, gets worse as it fully hits the tongue and just hits bottom when you swallow it. bitter, foul, malty awfulness fully abounds here. my gosh this is just SO bad!

DANGER avoid this at all costs!
Anthony's Rating: 3
User's Rating: 55
# of ratings:22

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Hansen’s Signature All Natural Sarsaprilla Soda

March 22, 2000
Filed under: sarsaparillas — anthony @ 5:45 pm
Type: Sarsaparilla Comes In: 14oz glass bottle
Available: CT, NJ, NY, online Obtained in: Quik Chek, NJ
Head: Large Sweetener: cane sugar, honey
Caffeine: No
Website: http://www.hansens.com

from the get go, you know this soda is wacky. the bottle is strange looking, it is 14 ounces instead of the usual 12. then you see it has a "blend of Madagascan, Indonesian and Tahitian Vanilla Extracts." what the heck is that about?! at first, i always enjoy this soda. it is very full bodied, you can taste the honey and vanilla distinctly. yet, as i drain more and more of it, i always feel a little sick. it is too rich perhaps. i do not know. not that it is a bad sick always, sometimes it is kind of nice. overall, it is not really a sarsaparilla but more of a creamy, rich root beer.
Ingredients:Triple filtered carbonated water, cane sugar, caramel color, malic acid, natural spices, blend of Madagascan, Indonesian, and Tahitian vanilla extracts, honey, wintergreen extract and natural flavors.

Anthony's Rating: 79
User's Rating: 72
# of ratings:67

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Health Valley Sarsaparilla Root Beer

October 19, 1997
Filed under: root beers,sarsaparillas — anthony @ 5:29 pm
Type: Sarsaparilla Comes In: 12oz glass bottle
Available: NJ, NY, online Obtained in: Berkeley Heights, NJ
Head: Small Sweetener: molasses, fructose
Caffeine: No
Website: http://www.healthvalley.com/

i don't understand this stuff at all. there is no real brand on it, yet it is not generic or anything i do not think, especially at like $1.50 a bottle… plus it is only sold by the individual bottle at this one Grand Union. maybe it is other places but not that i have seen. another, it is kind of lame, too herb-y really. that weird anise / licorice flavor going on but it still doesn't work well i do no think. just ok really. and how does one classify it?! i need to pigeon hole! i cannot compare against peers if i do not know if it is a sarsaparilla or a root beer! well, since they make an "Old Fashioned Root Beer" or whatever also, perhaps this is the
Ingredients:Sparkling spring water, fructose, molasses, our own natural sarsaparilla flavoring of licorice root extract, natural oils of anise, cherry bark extract, and herbal extracts.

Anthony's Rating: 36
User's Rating: 60
# of ratings:38

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Hey Song Sarsaprilla Drink

October 9, 2000
Filed under: sarsaparillas — anthony @ 5:46 pm
Type: Sarsaparilla Comes In: 12 oz can
Available: NJ Obtained in: Green Brook, NJ
Head: Small Sweetener: high fructose corn syrup
Caffeine: No

this really tastes like bark. which may just be what sarsaprilla originally tasted like, but today it does not. i don't like this at all, yet i am strangely attracted to it. i had a can of it a few months ago and the familiar feeling is returning to my stomach. maybe it has grown on me but i just feel like it will make me poo or something.
Anthony's Rating: 24
User's Rating: 84
# of ratings:125

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Homemade Soda Co Sassy Sarsaparilla

June 10, 2013
Filed under: sarsaparillas — anthony @ 4:04 am
Type: Sarsaparilla Comes In: extract
Available: online Obtained in: mailorder from company
Head: None Sweetener:
Caffeine: No
Website: http://homemadesodacompany.com

ok, well, this is a new concept for me. this company makes extracts, four (4!) different root beers, a birch beer and a sarsaparilla. i figured i could do what i have done in the past with soda syrups and just add it to seltzer in the recommended amount and have a drink. whoa, yuck! i had not realized that syrups and extracts are quite different in that extracts are not sweetened while a syrup is. that makes sense but it complicates things a bit more for my purposes. all i can really do is try to follow their directions anyway and see what results. yet, the instructions are for making a five gallon batch with yeast carbonation. i don't want to make that much, i just want a glass. and i don't want to yeast carbonate as it always taste bad. so i am just going to guess a bit with some simple syrup, seltzer and this extract. an inexact science but close enough. i think i will also try making it with my soda siphon as they also have directions for that method, even though it requires more planning.
so after all that, how is it? as i can kind of make it how i want it to taste, it is pretty decent. i made it pretty sweet but with a good amount of flavor. it is pretty strong and "rooty" if that helps describe it. very robust and hearty, it is not your average sarsaparilla. it delivers on that "sassy" promise. not like Sassy magazine either. well, maybe like mid 90s Sassy when it was pretty good and interesting, in between when it was lame. i have no idea if it is even still around. probably not. so yeah, the soda… you can taste the herbs and feel like this is more authentic to how sarsaparilla once tasted. which is not to say that it is amazing. it is fine and ok, but i don't love it and wouldn't make it all the time. or crave it at night or something. i will try it with the siphon and see how that turns out though, perhaps it will be tastier.
ok, i am back, some time later. i have made it with the siphon this time. i would say it is about the same. which actually surprises me, i thought it would be sweeter or stronger, but i suppose i got the amounts right last time. cool. but the rest of this batch of sodas i will just do in the siphon, it is pretty easy really and i have the process down well. it is a decent soda but not the best or the worst. good but not spectacular.
Anthony's Rating: 72
User's Rating: 0
# of ratings:0

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Hosmer Mountain Sarsaparilla

April 1, 2004
Filed under: sarsaparillas — anthony @ 5:55 pm
Type: Sarsaparilla Comes In: 28oz glass bottle
Available: CT Obtained in: mail from company
Head: Medium Sweetener: corn sweetener
Caffeine: Yes
Website: http://www.hosmersoda.com/

wow, i think this is a first for me, a sarsaparilla with caffeine! wacky indeed. so Hosmer Mountain was kind enough to send me a few of their sodas which i have had had before. and i of course was rude enough to put off reviewing them for a while. but i am going to try to do them all today! so yeh, this soda is pretty decent. a little bit dull though if anything. a little bit of a bite to it, but on the whole a rather uneventful drink. mind you, it is not bad, i like it much better than many sodas but it does not distinguish itself. except for that whole having caffeine thing.
Anthony's Rating: 83
User's Rating: 68
# of ratings:10

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Hosmer Mountain Sarsaparilla Root Beer

April 1, 2004
Filed under: root beers,sarsaparillas — anthony @ 3:39 pm
Type: Sarsaparilla Comes In: 12oz glass bottle
Available: CT Obtained in: mail from company
Head: Large Sweetener: corn sweetener, brown sugar
Caffeine: No
Website: http://www.hosmersoda.com/

so this is about to get confusing, for you and for me. i reviewed the "Root Beer" above a while ago. then they sent me this "Sarsaparilla Root Beer" along with "Sarsaparilla" and "Root Beer!" and they all have different ingredients and so far, they seem to taste different. granted i cannot really recall the taste of the soda from 2 years ago or whatever, but i would not describe this one that way. at least not the part about the high carbonation as it is pretty low here. still a bit syrupy but not too much so that i would note it i don't think. this is actually a kind of rich, quite creamy (yes creamy!) drink. i think the brown sugar is more distinct in this one too and i like it the best of their offerings so far.
Anthony's Rating: 91
User's Rating: 81
# of ratings:15

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Jackson Hole Soda Company Snake River Sarsaparilla

August 19, 2010
Filed under: sarsaparillas — anthony @ 2:03 pm
Type: Sarsaparilla Comes In: 12oz glass bottle
Available: CA, OK, WY, online Obtained in: mailorder
Head: Small Sweetener: sugar
Caffeine: No
Website: http://www.jhsodaco.com/

so this is one soda i feel very bad about. you see, the company sent me some to review a couple years ago, along with the new formulation of their Buckin Root Beer but for some reason i just drank it or served it to guests by mistake. i thought i had more i suppose. but i did not. so finally i realized this and just ordered some. yet i still feel bad as this should have appeared years ago. alas.
i think green glass is my favorite way for a soda to come. i don't know why exactly but the green is just such a great shade and look. it just works better for me than brown or clear glass. i don't think i have had any other colored bottles so perhaps blue would tickle my fancy or something also. beyond that, the label design is ok. they go for the Old West/wanted poster sort of motif, which is the sense one gets when drinking a sarsaparilla i suppose. there is an olde tyme photo of 2 ladies carrying some fish skewered through their gills by a stick between them in one hand and their fishin' poles in the other. i am not sure what that has to do with sarsaparilla, perhaps they caught these fish on the Snake River? the world may never know. i suspect that this the case as the photo copyright is from the Jackson Hole Historical Society.
the taste here is actually very good. it is complex and definitely feels olde tyme too. the licorice is very apparent after the swallow. the initial flavor is that of sassafras with a hint of wintergreen possibly alongside a bit of anise. the sweetness is solid, not overpowering at all. this is an excellent drink, one of the best sarsaparillas i have had i will say. at least to this point. i am very glad this company is still around and i hope they are doing well as both of their offerings which i have sampled have been excellent.
Ingredients:carbonated filtered water, real sugar, natural and artifical flavors, caramel color, citric acid & sodium benzoate as a preservative

Anthony's Rating: 94
User's Rating: 87
# of ratings:12

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Kansas City Sarsaparilla

August 6, 2009
Filed under: sarsaparillas — anthony @ 11:51 am
Type: Sarsaparilla Comes In: 1L plastic bottle, 32 oz plastic bottle
Available: MN Obtained in: sent by the mighty Jon
Head: Small Sweetener: corn sweetener, sugar
Calories: 110 Sodium: 25mg
Carbs: 32g Sugar: 32g
Caffeine: No

this is yet another soda i obtained in trade with the ever resourceful Jon. i know little about it as there is no info online, but that will not stop me from judging it with all of my judging might.
the first thing i find interesting/weird about this beverage is that the plastic bottle it comes in is embossed with the Frostop logo. this leads me to believe that they purchase their bottles from or through Frostop. which seems strange. i guess maybe they got a bulk discount at the bottle makers or something? i mean, i hear about glass bottle soda makers re-using the bottles from closed down companies and using the deposit system to try to retain those bottles. but i really don't think you can/are supposed to re-use plastic bottles so it can't be that Kansas City Sarsaparilla bought out the old Frostop bottles. well, it could be that they has new ones but Frostop is still going semi-strong so that is fishy. well, whatever.
the second thing i notice is the tagline on the back of the label: "no matter which end of the horse you're working with… there's nothing like an ice cold Kansas City Sarsaparilla to quench your thirst." which i imagine is true but it is not very catchy.
i like sodas in bottles of this size. perhaps that is some silly feeling like i am drinking a 40 or whatever. or that it is not really too much of a stretch for this to be a one person serving size. the taste of this is kind of bland. i know it tastes like something but when i concentrate on it it is very vague. sure, there is a root beer-ish flavor but it is kind of weak and boring. i suppose for 99 cents a quart i cannot expect much though. it is just dull to me. i would rather get a store brand 2 liter bottle for my dollar i think. i don't think the lack of carbonation is helping the cause here either. there is very little and absolutely no foaming action. alas.
Ingredients:carbonated water, sugar and/or corn sweeteners, caramel color, natural and artificial flavors, phosphoric acid, citric acid abd less than 1/10 of 1% of sodium benzoate to preserve freshness

Anthony's Rating: 62
User's Rating: 96
# of ratings:17

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